From Facebook yesterday morning:
This is going to end up being a long status update. I'm not going to pretend that I have it in me to be brief on a subject so shattering, and I'm not apologizing either. Sharing thoughts and words is how I make sense of things, and I desperately need to do that today.We lost my dad this week. It's been hard to find a way to put that into words here, because there's something about putting a thing on facebook that makes it more real, and I've spent the last few days wanting it to be less. But I'm home with my family now and if I can say these words from anywhere, it's here, where so many of those who love him have, and continue to gather together in shared grief. The world lost one of the best of its men this week. And that's not just a platitude, it's truth of the most poignant kind.My mom lost her best friend, and that's the hardest part of this. My brother and sister lost their dad, and my children lost their grandpa. My granny lost her son, and my aunts and uncles lost their brother. And this list could go on and on to include all the people whose lives he affected. But at some point I have to let myself feel the part of my grief that is for me. The part where I say, not that we lost my dad this week, but that I lost him. I lost my dad. I can't stop crying. I can't stop falling apart, gathering myself, and falling apart again. Because that's what grief does. It wrecks you from the inside out, over and over again till the intervals between crashings become long enough to function in.I'm grateful for my faith, which today is so much more than a hope, and so much more like a sure knowledge. I know where my dad is and I know what he is doing. He is giving service. He is filling needs. And he is doing so with the quiet humility he did in life. Faith isn't an antidote to grief, but it's a bedrock we can rebuild ourselves on. Something I need so desperately as I struggle to reorient myself in a world where one of the pillars of my life is gone. Gone is the wrong word, and I know that. It's the word for how things feel, rather than how they are. I haven't lost my dad's example. I haven't lost the guiding, strengthening force of him in my life. But still, he is a sort of gone that I'm going to spend a long time coming to grips with.And when the spaces between crashings become big enough, I want to do something to honour a man who is literally the most guileless, generous, and humble man I have ever known. I invite everyone who's actually read the entirety of this message to join me in performing an act of anonymous kindness. At its very core, service is what my dad's life on this earth was about, and what I am striving for my own to be too.Thank you for all your love, well wishes, and prayers. They are deeply, deeply felt. heart emoticon
My dad snored.
All my life, that suddenly-past-tense sentence has been a very present thing. Growing up, I could hear the baritone rumble of dad's snore from anywhere in the house. In the evening, as he readied himself for bed, he would hum oh so tunelessly in the bathroom that shared a wall with my bedroom. My dad was the percussion line in my life's symphony for many years.
While I won't hear his snoring again, and tuneless humming will probably send my emotional dominoes crashing for a long time to come, he's not gone. And I don't mean in a ripples in the water kind of way. Dad's effect on my life was more profound than that. He changed the water on a molecular level somehow. He changed me. Or maybe it's more that his example pushed me to dig deeper, make room for more water, more life. I'm still sorting that all out. I'll probably spend the rest of my life figuring out the many ways my dad affected who I am, and who I'm still choosing and striving to become.
And I'm using too many metaphors, I know. It's a coping mechanism; bear with me.
After my siblings and I moved out and there were bedrooms to spare, my dad would often sleep in the guestroom, so my mom could get a good rest during the work week. On the day we lost him, she had a breakfast meeting she had to get up incredibly early for. When she came back to their room after her shower, she discovered that dad had woken up early and made the bed for her. Mom expressed her gratitude to him and left for work shortly after. This, without either of them realizing it, was their final moment together.
An act of service. Loving, genuine gratitude. A fond farewell.
I don't think it's humanly possible to lose someone without thinking about final moments, without resolving to make goodbyes more tender, hellos warmer and more genuine, and all the in between times kinder, more giving, less selfish. It almost feels cliched, this whole becoming extra introspective after someone dies thing.
But that doesn't mean we aren't supposed to do it.
That said, losing someone sucks rocks. Heck, it sucks MOUNTAINS. Getting a kick in the rear to be a better person does not make it worth the loss. Nowhere near. Nothing possibly could. BUT, no amount of current loss can take away what has been given to me. A father who showed his love through quiet acts of service, who taught me what it is to be kind without seeking glory for it (I REALLY like glory too - glory is FUN), and who bore testimony with boldness and power.
He also taught me to live life joyfully, and not take myself so darn seriously all the time (I do that, WHOO BOY do I do that). There was a gleefulness to him. He tickled me when I was lost in a book, or cracked a joke when I was being sour or moody. I catch myself doing the same to my kids sometimes and smile because I know who that came from. Those smiles are going to be a little sadder for a while, there's no way for them not to be, but they're still going to be smiles.
Because his snoring might be gone, but he's not. He has always been, and will always be, a force for good in my life. I am so grateful for HIS life and the many wonderful things he chose to do with it.